A Heart In Need of Repentance

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Further, after the decision was made to elect judges rather than to be ruled by a king, the people elected Alma the Younger—again, formerly one of their persecutors. I wonder: How many of them had girlfriends who waited? It was during this mission that Ammon requested of the Lamanite king Lamoni that he serve in his stables.

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The king decreed that Ammon and his missionary brethren be allowed to preach in all the land. Wanting to distinguish themselves from the Lamanites, the converted king and his subjects took upon themselves the name Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Clearly they had need for spiritual surgery but chose not to add their names to the heart-transplant waiting list.


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Instead, these wicked Lamanites marshaled the help of the remaining unconverted Lamanites in the land to wage war against the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. In Alma 24 the king related their conversion story and described the steps of their repentance. King Lamoni spoke of being convinced of their sins, signifying recognition of their wrongdoing; of having the guilt taken from their hearts, indicating the feeling of godly sorrow and remorse; and of covenanting never to take up their swords again, suggesting a resolve to never sin again see Alma — My son Brandon is serving a mission in France.

In his departing talk given in sacrament meeting, he described the will to completely turn from sin. Do or do not. There is no try. So great was their commitment to forsake their sins that they prostrated themselves before the wicked Lamanites as they came upon them with weapons in hand. One thousand and five of them were slain without offering resistance. I think of the ultimate faith in the Savior that would require of me if this were to happen to my wife and children. The image of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies kneeling and prepared to die brings to mind a recent, powerful example of similar spiritual resolve: the young woman in Littleton, Colorado, who was killed because she would not deny her belief in God.

King Benjamin described this radical change of heart in his classic discourse to the people of Zarahemla. Before his death he assembled his people near the temple for his final counsel.

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So powerful was the effect of his preaching that all of the people signed their names as a covenant to keep the commandments. Mosiah indicates that the Spirit of the Lord had wrought a mighty change in them—or in their hearts. But that response would only be partially correct. Our desires come and go, often in relation to our environment, but character and personality are more permanent, more fundamental to the makeup of our soul.

Is Repentance a Command or a Gift?

The change of heart we seek that accompanies true repentance actually brings a change of appetite for sin. Our likes and dislikes relative to good and evil are shaped by the Atonement. We learn not only to avoid the sin but the temptation to sin as well. There is no earthly entity that has this power to change our temperament.


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There are other traits shared by those who have experienced a change of heart. Let me illustrate several that I have observed. Those who have undergone a change of heart exhibit also a change of life and of lifestyle. Some activities must be part of his daily routine, and others are to be forever avoided.

The same is true of spiritual heart-transplant recipients.

What Does Repentance Look Like?

And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax.

And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us. Can you imagine being called to a mission full of a people with such characteristics? The Anti-Nephi-Lehies were. And they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence. The change of life and lifestyle that accompanies conversion is seen in our preparation for temple worship. There are 15 questions by which we certify our eligibility to attend the temple. If our witness of these four key truths is strong enough, we will modify our lives such that we can respond affirmatively to the remaining questions, which test our commitment to chaste living, the law of tithing, the Word of Wisdom, honesty, the keeping of covenants, and the principle of continued repentance.

John will undergo regular, frequent visits to the doctor to check the condition of his transplanted heart. Similarly, we who seek a spiritual change of heart must rely forever after on the Savior, who alone performs the sacred surgery in our change of heart.

A Prayer for Repentance and Restoration

Only he can keep the changed heart beating strongly, can prevent further disease from creeping in, and can provide the guidance for the proper diet and exercise for the soul. Our outward being changes as we undergo this change inside. While serving in a campus bishopric several years ago, I became acquainted with a young woman who had become mired in serious sin.

When she first reported to us, her appearance was disheveled and grubby, and she was wearing tattered jeans and a flannel shirt. Her posture was poor, her shoulders were curved, and her head was bent in shame. Her face, which rarely wore a smile, was veiled by uncombed hair.

This young woman was suffering from a severe form of the kind of heart disease I have discussed today.

After nearly a year of her working closely with the bishop, I was struck by her transformation. Cause me to hate what you hate and love what you love. Knowing that repentance is both a command and a gift from God, how might this change the way you pray? Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible.

Prayer For Forgiveness Of Sins, Renewal, and Repentance

Follow him on Twitter. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble… For whoever would love life… must keep his tongue from evil He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. Wives, in the same way, be submissive to your husbands. Peter explains when he speaks about the holy women of the past who The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.

Contrition is the dawning of regret or remorse about something you know to be wrong in your life. To pray for a contrite heart is asking for two things. First, that we be given a like-new heart. Contrition is a heart transplant, a like-new heart. Repentance is how we cooperate and participate in what God, the Great Physician, is doing in this heart procedure. Repentance comes from our realization how we had it wrong: something we have done or left undone, said or left unsaid, and we know it to be wrong, regrettably. Our need to repent may come from a realization about an interaction we had which we now see and admit was not right.

Our interaction was mistaken, or mean, or unkind, or fueled by our jealousy, or by our covert spirit of revenge. Or our sense of need to repent may come from an attack we brazenly made on someone out in the open, or in the secret recesses of our heart. Our sense of need to repent may come from an ignoble habit how we have navigated life, a pattern of life that may have snowballed out of control. Our need to repent comes from the inside out.

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12 Signs You Have a Genuinely Repentant Heart

Repentance is fueled by regret and sorrow. Repentance is both better and worse than you might imagine. Repentance is a constant theme during the season of Lent. Today we began our liturgy with a confession of sin. We did not first take a survey here in the congregation, asking whether any of us had need for the making a confession of sin. Show of hands?


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  • Rather, we just moved ahead with the confession, presuming that all of us here were in need of making our confession. Repentance points to such a pervasive problem in life: getting it wrong, in big ways and small ways… and the realization we need to change our ways. The good news is this is what Jesus is all about. Lewis says that repentance is not something God demands of you before God will take you back and could let you off the hook.